Review: Magnum Research MR1911 .45 ACP and 10mm Auto

Magnum research 1911 from Bul in front of a black hard case and with a spare magazine

The 1911 handgun is seeing a boom in both quality and quantity. The better pistols are superior to anything in the past — masterpieces of the makers’ art. The less expensive, more spartan types are better than ever as well. Quite a few writers address the 1911. You must wonder at their level of insight if they don’t quite get it.

When I write about the 1911, I am writing about my favorite handgun, so I am getting this out of the way rather than making a covert personal statement later. I have used the 1911 for five decades and written three books on the platform. I understand it well, and I am still in awe of the design. The 1911, as you may figure, was introduced in 1911. While all pistols today are really 1911A1 pistols, we call them 1911s.

Magnum research bul 1911 .45 ACP pistol stainless-steel left profile
Once known as the Desert Eagle 1911, today these guns are designated Magnum Research 1911 handguns.

Why Choose the Magnum Research MR1911?

Among the most impressive on a cost for value and performance basis are the pistols manufactured by Bul Ltd. in Israel. While their pistols were once known as the Desert Eagle 1911, today these guns are designated Magnum Research 1911 handguns.

If the true measure of genius is longevity, the invention of John Moses Browning marks this firearms designer as the greatest genius of handgun design. Just the same, the 1911 handgun was the result of a great deal of input from the U.S. Cavalry and military men such as Colonel Thompson, who did a tremendous amount of research into handgun cartridges.

Mechanics isn’t a branch of biology, so I will not use the term evolution. Rather, the pistol has seen a tremendous amount of development since 1911. Experience, after all, is an unfinished business.

The MR1911 offers a state-of-the-art upgrade of the 1911. I think we all agree on the problem of personal defense, but there are different interpretations. For those who prefer the 1911 over the Beretta, Glock, and SIG, I don’t think you will be disappointed with the MR1911.

You will have to spend a great deal of money to get something better than the Magnum Research MR1911. The pistols use stainless-steel construction, excellent barrel fitting, modern sights, and forward cocking serrations. The trigger action is good, and the controls are crisp.

Magnum Research MR1911 Features

The Government Model 1911 .45 is easily my favorite 1911 type. The original five-inch barrel pistol is considered the most reliable of all 1911 handguns. The weight, balance, and handling are ideal.

Like all 1911 handguns, the MR1911 features a slide lock safety that allows cocked-and-locked carry. The hammer is cocked as the pistol is loaded and the safety is placed on with a firm indent. The pistol is carried safely in this manner.

Field stripped magnum research 1911 Commander pistol w magazine
With a full-length guide rod, the slide, barrel, and recoil assembly are easily broken down.

The trigger is locked by the grip safety and the slide-lock safety keeps the hammer locked in place. As the pistol is drawn and aimed, the safety is moved to the off position. The hand presses on the grip, depressing the grip safety and releasing its grip on the trigger.

There is nothing open-ended or inconclusive in an evaluation of the 1911. There is no pistol faster to an accurate first shot than a properly carried cocked-and-locked 1911.

I first began to study the 1911, and its good qualities, while reading Colonel Jeff Cooper. There are certainly writers and fighting men before Cooper that wrote of the efficiency of the 1911, and thousands who used the pistol in combat. Cooper got it down to a science. He was unique, an irreproachable writer in a field that isn’t.

I state the facts and make suggestions while outlining implications, and let the reader meet me halfway. I think that anyone applying the modern shooting technique that Col. Cooper helped develop will reach the same conclusions I did.

I find the MR1911 well-made of good material and a good shooter. The feed ramp is properly polished, and the feed ramp’s two halves exhibit the requisite 1/32-inch gap between their surfaces. Trigger compression is at 5 pounds even, and the pistol is feed reliable and accurate. The sights are a modern wedge-type that allow jamming the rear sight into a belt or boot heel to rack the slide if need be.

MR1911 Commander .45 ACP

The Commander is traditionally a pistol with a slide and barrel that is ¾-inch shorter than the Government Model. Some are aluminum-frame guns and others are steel-frame guns. The MR1911 Commander features a steel frame.

The barrel is different from the usual Commander. The barrel is 4.33 rather than 4.25 inches long. The barrel doesn’t use the standard barrel bushing found on the original pistol and the MR1911 Government Model. The MR1911 Commander features a bushingless lockup.

G10 grips on affixed to a 1911 pistol frame
G10 grips and well-designed controls are good features of the MR1911.

First developed for use on the Officers Model 3.5-inch barrel 1911, this bushingless lockup is useful in a short-slide pistol that must incorporate a more severe barrel tilt to ensure function and feed reliability. The MR1911 Commander is nearly as accurate as the Government Model — it takes a good shot to prove it isn’t.

The Magnum Research Commander 1911 will cut a 2.5-inch 25-yard group with quality ball ammunition. The Government Model is slightly more accurate, with an average five-shot group of 2.25-inches with similar ammunition. While I generally prefer a Government Model .45, I find the Commander featured in this report my favorite Magnum Research handgun.

MR1911 in 10mm Auto

When basic performance is interpreted, and common sense is used, the 10mm finds a lot of application in the outdoors. It would be among my first choices if I faced felons behind cover on a regular basis, which was the intent of the original cartridge. The 10mm, as Colonel Cooper said, will do things at 50 yards the .45 ACP cannot.

The 10mm wasn’t intended to replace the .45, but instead, to offer another choice for certain circumstances. The .45 ACP was designed to offer good penetration and wound potential against enemy soldiers, horses, and dangerous animals such as Jaguars. (Experience in the South American and Asian jungles was considered in the .45s development.)

The 10mm is intended for use against sheet metal and vehicles that did not exist when the .45 ACP cartridge was developed in 1905. A problem with the 10mm has been weapons wear and recoil. I have tested 1911 pistols chambered in 10mm that simply beat up the shooter, but they fed all types of ammunition from light to heavy loads.

Commander length 1911 piston sitting on MTM K Zone pistol rest on a shooting bench
Accuracy was good. The pistols were fired for accuracy from an MTM K-Zone pistol rest.

Another 1911 10mm constantly short-cycled with standard loads, and only ran well with full power to heavy loads. It was, however, comfortable to fire due to the strong recoil springs.

I have set up properly sprung 1911 handguns in the past, but most factory guns simply did not meet my reliability standards. The Magnum Research MR1911 10mm is an exception. The pistol addresses the problem of mating the 10mm to the 1911 handgun and succeeds.

The controls work well, and the slide lock safety operates with an audible click. The trigger is tight, and trigger reset is rapid. The primary difference is that Magnum Research has mastered the correct combination of recoil and hammer springs that work together to control recoil and feed all types of 10mm ammunition.

The pistol features a ramped barrel, offering a higher degree of safety with the high-pressure 10mm. The barrel is a bushingless lockup bull barrel. This is unusual in a Government Model 1911. The combination has proven ideal.

Magnum Research 10mm 1911 pistol with G10 grips left profile
The 10mm Auto, as Colonel Cooper said, will do things at 50 yards the .45 ACP cannot.

I have fired this pistol extensively. The pistol is reliable and more accurate than most. While the 1911 10mm isn’t generally regarded as highly accurate, the MR1911 10mm is quite accurate, putting five Hornady Critical Duty bullets into 2.4 inches at a long 25 yards.

My example features a blue slide over a stainless receiver and slightly different sights than the other MR1911 handguns. Overall, the MR1911 is a pleasing combination and an outstanding handgun.

The Magnum Research MR1911 handguns offer good fit, finish, and reliability, and are more accurate than most. I recommend these pistols without hesitation.

How do you rate the Magnum Research MR1911 against your favorite 1911? Share your answer in the comment section.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog, The Shooter's Log, is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (5)

  1. I own a magnum research 1911 in 45acp and have had it for over 12 years. I bought this 45 on the spot becauseI knew it was what I was looking for the minute I picked it up. It FITS perfectly in your hand.
    It is single stack so it’s a tad slimmer . It points immediately on target and is still my most accurate hand gun. No disappointment’s at all. Mine is blued with wood grips and like many other things I have learned in life , looks only goes so far and it’s the contents that matter. This gun is a shooter.

  2. Bob,
    I have the MR1911 45 and love it, but prefer the 10mm cartridge although I haven’t been able find a MR1911 in 10mm. If you’re interested in selling yours, I’ll send you my FFL info.


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